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McMaster University



Welcome to McMaster and to the Office of the President. The University's website provides a wealth of information about the mission and vision of the University, its innovative educational programs, cutting-edge research, and the students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and supporters who make up the McMaster community. I was privileged to become a member of this community in July 2010, when I began my term as President and Vice-Chancellor. More


Principle 1

We are an institution devoted to the cultivation of human potential, which we believe cannot be realized by individuals in isolation from one another, from their history or their imagined future, from the society which surrounds them, or from the physical universe which sustains them. Our programs and activities will reflect this comprehensive view.


Principle 2

It follows that in defining our strengths and seeking to build on them, we will adopt a multidisciplinary perspective, recognizing that even the most specialized problem requires an appropriately broad-based approach.


Principle 3

Our future shall be continuous and consistent with our past, expanding upon and fulfilling the historic character of McMaster as an institution. We will foster the distinct identity of this university, while at the same time continuing to recognize the importance of collaboration and dialogue with sister institutions in Ontario, Canada, and abroad.


Principle 4

Notwithstanding that commitment to continuity with the past and to coordination with practices elsewhere, we will place the highest value on original thought and on innovation.


Principle 5

To that end, we will not only reaffirm the importance of radical questioning at the heart of the academic enterprise, but we will ensure the integrity of our work by bringing a critical view to all of our practices-those which bear directly upon education and research as well as those less directly related to it.


Principle 6

Wherever possible, we will reduce or eliminate obstacles to cooperation.


Principle 7

We will acknowledge, and seek to integrate in all our work and in ways appropriate to our specific fields, an obligation to serve the greater good of our community-locally, nationally, and globally.


Lecture Series

McMaster Seminar on Higher Education: Practice, Policy, and Public Life

The McMaster Seminar on Higher Education: Practice, Policy, and Public Life is a lecture series presented by the Office of the President. The aim of the annual series is to encourage dialogue and inspire critical thought within the McMaster and the broader Hamilton communities. It is intended that the topics will be timely, interdisciplinary, and far-reaching, guided by the key questions and challenges facing higher education institutions and the communities they serve. The series will emphasize the importance to the academy, and to society as a whole, of thinking critically and engaging in meaningful discussion of challenging issues. The series is intended to be of relevance for a wide audience and all members of the community are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Upcoming Events:

January Session

Torgny Roxa
Academics Adrift in Late Modernity - A Way Forward


Thursday, January 29, 2015
3:00 - 4:30pm


Council Chambers, Gilmour Hall 111
McMaster University

Presented by:

McMaster Institute for Innovation & Excellence in Teaching & Learning


This lecture is about academic teaching and student learning. It acknowledges that education today runs the risk of becoming solely a contribution to economic growth as it is delivered according to prescribed outcomes. Knowledge is thus commodified, pre-planned, and measured against the monetary investments made.

In opposition to this, this lecture takes a stand for academic thinking, learning as a cognitive labour, and teaching as a means to support student learning and personal development. Academic teaching should be a profound activity in need of constant development and refinement.

However, higher education organisations of today are in many ways in bad shape to defend such academic values. They largely depend on often-isolated individuals and thus become vulnerable to external forces and divide-and-conquer strategies. It is here the lecture suggests a way forward.

The case put forward as an argument describes a European research-intensive institution with 45 000 students where evidence of measurable effects on student learning have been achieved. The institution has deployed Scholarship of Teaching and Learning as a strategy. It includes pedagogical courses supporting individual teachers’ ability to observe and analyse context-specific teaching situations in combination with arenas where teachers go public, discuss, and are rewarded for their contributions to an institution-wide conversation on teaching and student learning.

The lecture further outlines how these measures through an intensified campus-wide academic conversation support collegiality, academic freedom, critical thinking, and scientific inquiry. The result is a strengthened organisation, both in its capacity to support student learning and to withstand external pressure.


Torgny Roxå is academic developer at the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University in Sweden since 1988. His focus is Strategic Educational Development using a socio-cultural approach. In May 2014 he defended a doctoral thesis focusing on microcultures in higher education organizations. He has won the Lund University award for distinguished pedagogical achievements and has also been recognized as an Excellent Teaching Practitioner. He has served as an external examiner for the Postgraduate Diploma in Learning and Teaching at Oxford University and as workshop leader and guest lecturer in numerous occasions internationally. He is currently appointed Honorary Fellow at the University of Ulster. 2011 to 2014 he served as regional Vice President (Europe) of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.